Plants can’t get up and run away when they’re being attacked by insects or harsh weather conditions. So they need mechanisms to rapidly respond to a stressful event – being eaten by a bug, for example – and then quickly transition back to “normal” conditions when the stress level subsides.
In a paper published in the journal Cell, North Carolina State University researchers Jose Alonso and Anna Stepanova show how plants handle – at the molecular level – the release of ethylene, an important gaseous stress hormone that, among other functions, regulates plant growth and stimulates the fruit ripening process. The findings could pave the way to new techniques to engineer plants to produce better crops or to turn off certain genes.
Read more in the NC State University news release.